In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, 34th Congressional District Rep. Jimmy Gomez has proposed a bill to rename a federal courthouse in honor of the civil rights achievements made by Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez.
NBC News reported that on Wednesday, Sept. 27, Rep. Gomez was joined by Sylvia and Sandra Mendez — daughters of Gonzalo and Felicitas — at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. alongside fellow leaders in the Latino community to introduce the new bill and share the Mendez family’s legal victory that led to the desegregation of public schools throughout California.
“I’m introducing a bill that would name the Los Angeles U.S. Courthouse in my congressional district after two remarkable individuals whose courage and resilience bent the arc of history towards justice,” Gomez said at the press conference.
After facing school segregation in the 1940s, the Mendez family teamed up with four other Orange County families to file a lawsuit and speak up for students of color in the Westminster School District. They won their case in 1946, putting an end to forced segregation in California public schools one year later and laying the foundation for the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board case.
“This Hispanic Heritage Month, I am making sure Latino stories are enshrined in American civil rights history,” Rep. Gomez said. If passed, the federal courthouse would become the first named after a Latina, according to Gomez.
“My parents and the four other families in this case refused to give up on their vision for a more equal society for their children, where the color of someone’s skin doesn’t determine their access to education,” Sylvia Mendez said. “I am eager to see Rep. Gomez’s bill move forward to preserve this important piece of Hispanic history.”
Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:
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